Props to jlt, Alexandria, and beastiegirl for blurbs and comments.
It's the aftermath of the late-night surprise birthday party for Josh. Everyone's taken off except C.J. and Donna, who are sitting on the sofa drinking beer. C.J. explains to Donna what the media fallout is going to be as a result of Josh's losing Senator Carrick to the Republican party. Among other things: "The Sunday-morning shows will hang Josh from a klieg light, use him as a piñata." Maybe when they're done, they wouldn't mind lending this show one of those klieg lights. Overall, the show isn't quite as dark as usual (in fact, some scenes are downright overexposed, pursuant to the ER-ification of this show), but there are a couple of scenes that are still just ridiculous. C.J. says the White House can't put a lid on the story, but can try to control the schadenfreude. Donna doesn't know what that means, so C.J. defines it: "Enjoying the suffering of others. You know, the whole rationale behind the House of Representatives." ["And this site." -- Wing Chun]
Suddenly, we cut to the sound of a transport truck Doppler-ing its way past Donna, who's standing on a street corner, pensive. As C.J.'s voice-over continues, saying that managing this mess is going to be all about setting the right tone: "And it has to start first thing Monday. That's where you come in." Josh gets out of a cab in front of Donna, and she goes over to him, telling him he looks nice. He says he feels good. She says he looks it. Oh, for God's sake, just kiss already. You just know this is the year it's going to happen. Can we get it over with? The suspense is boring me senseless. Josh wonders why Donna's out there meeting him on the street. Donna claims to have a crush on the little old man who runs the cappuccino stand. He must be a Republican. She bugs Josh about whether he's okay. He says he feels good. They cross the street together as he says, "I have my health, I have central air...in the hierarchy of pain and suffering, I really can't complain. I mean, I will --" A man after my own heart. He assures Donna that this thing with Carrick is a "blip," and that he can't get worked up about it. Donna: "Good for you!" Josh: "That's what we said to my grandmother when she was down to eighty-four pounds." O...kay....
Back to C.J. and Donna in the Mural Room: she advises Donna to help Josh protect his image and project a "business as usual" air. Josh should do real work, and no meetings that are "below him." Like the kind of meetings they'd stick Sam with, if he were still here -- that's what she means.